Nine films will be screened over the weekend
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced the latest field for the best foreign language Oscar. The following nine contenders will be screened by specially invited committees in New York and Los Angeles Friday, Jan. 21 through Sunday, Jan 23.
Plus: Some thoughts on Ricky Gervais and the HFPA
Before we tackled the best picture race leading up to Tuesday's nominations, some final key thoughts on Sunday's night's Golden Globes.
The HFPA has a major public relations problem...again.
Over the past decade many members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association worked very hard to change the perception of the exclusive and quirky org. Ever since stories of actors such as Sharon Stone sending expensive watches to members to try and land a nomination had became known in the mainstream media, the HFPA had put in strict rules and seemed very intent on lessening the studio's influence on the Golden Globes nominees and winners. Especially during a time when the Globes ratings were going upward and big brother, the Academy Awards, were falling. When the writer's strike occurred in late 2007, awards season came to a grinding halt and the HFPA came up with an embarrassingly lame press conference show to try to salvage their lucrative contract with NBC. The fact they insisted on the presentation should have been the first sign things weren't as kosher as they seemed. Then came new President Philip Berk, a gentleman who doesn't seem to have a sense of humor and appears to want to have a swift temper instead. Berk was largely responsible for the ouster of the Michael Russell Group, a publicity firm that had been the HFPA's biggest ally for two decades. You can learn about the gory details here, but the resulting lawsuit filed over the past week accused the organization of participating in payola (uh oh). Even if it can't be proven in court, it's damning in the court of public opinion, the media and the industry. Worse, those charges came just a month after the HFPA picked some of their most ludicrous and star-[expletive] nominations in years in the comedy or musical categories ("The Tourist," "Red") and has eyebrow raising nods for Scott Caan and Piper Perabo on the television side. And you know things aren't going well when your Cecil B. DeMille winner, Robert De Niro, is ripping your organization in his acceptance speech. The HFPA now have a whole year to try and turn things around. Good luck with that fellas.
'The Good Wife,' 'Glee,' 'I Am Love' and, um, 'Hung' also honored
Sometimes something pops into your inbox and you just can't resist writing a piece on it. So, here goes...
The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics (no, I have no idea who they are either) announced the winners for the second annual Dorian Awards for Film and Television this afternoon. Notable wins included this pundit's favorite of 2010, "I Am Love" for Film of the Year, "The Good Wife" for TV Drama of the Year (also a favorite), Annette Bening, "I Love You Phillip Morris," Michael C. Hall, Jane Lynch, Chris Colfer, "Glee" and, um, "Hung." Needless to say, the organization has a sense of humor about itself. Check out the winners as noted in a press release sent to the media.
Plus: America Ferrara, Matt Groening and Jason Reitman set to judge
In the second major pick up of the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, Sony Pictures Classics has acquired the rights to Jeff Nichols' dramatic entry "Take Shelter."
The film stars Michael Shannon as a man who becomes obsessed with building a storm shelter in his backyard after he's haunted by a series of terrifying dreams. The resulting behavior scares his wife (Jessica Chastain) and those in their small Ohio town. The cast also includes Shea Whigham, Katy Mixon and Kathy Baker.
This is Nicols second film. He also collaborated with Shannon, best known for his role on "Boardwalk Empire" and his Oscar-nominated turn in "Revolutionary Road," in 2007's "Shotgun Stories."
"Taking Shelter" is up for competition for the Grand Jury Prize and will premiere on Monday, Jan. 24.
Earlier this month, Roadside attractions picked "The Music Never Stopped" which premieres at the festival on Friday.
In other Sundance news…
Melissa Leo snubbed, 'Dragon Tattoo' gets lots of love
The British Academy of Film and Television Arts announced the nominees for the 2011 BAFTA Orange Film Awards today and "The King's Speech" led the way with 14 nominations including best picture. "Black Swan" found 12, "Inception" nine, "True Grit" eight and "127 Hours" seven while "The Social Network" wasn't s liked as much as its award season competitors and landed just six (ouch).
Besides the support for the usual awards players, BAFTA voters snubbed "The Fighter" star Melissa Leo, gave key nominations to "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" and its star Noomi Rapace, completely ignored Mark Romanek's U.K.-set "Never Let Me Go," told both Annette Bening and Julianne Moore that "The Kids Are All Right" and honored fallen countrymen and "The Town" star Pete Postlethwaite.
All the nominees are as follows along with this writer's commentary on each award.
Aron Ralston has a moment with the 'Black Swan' star
After the 68th Annual Golden Globes came to a merciful end Sunday night, the party really started with six different events on the Beverly Hilton complex. Every year, the hotel opens up at 9 PM for an influx of new attendees for the bashes including this black-tie wearing pundit. First off? The Weinstein Company/Relativity party which also doubled as a pseudo Paramount Pictures party (the studio is releasing "Fighter" for Relativity).
The complete rundown of the one night when movies and TV unite
Yes, it's that time of year again. A moment in Hollywood when the worlds of television and movies collide in a red carpet, booze-filled extravaganza. Ricky Gervais is back, the HFPA are facing a lawsuit and accusations of payola and concerns there will be no surprises. Bite your tongues naysayers! The fun is just beginning.
There's always time for a tea party on Golden Globes weekend
The British Academy of Film and Television Arts - Los Angeles - held their annual BAFTA/LA Tea Party Saturday afternoon in Beverly Hills and it was quite the scene in the packed Four Seasons hotel ballroom.
Partially a fundraiser for some of the organization's charities, the BAFTA Tea Party has become another required stop on the awards circuit. Next to SAG, BAFTA has some of the largest duplicate membership in the Academy and the Brits are a powerful voting bloc to have on your side (especially in close races). So, like a political campaign, events like BAFTA are a necessary stop to help push either your candidacy or your films.
Can the acclaimed drama win at the Golden Globes Sunday night?
Last night the Broadcast "Critic's" Association showed how pointless the Critic's Choice Awards are by naming "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" best foreign film. Of course, the fact there were only three nominees might have been the biggest red flag in that regard, but picking "Tattoo" over the acclaimed "I Am Love" and at the least daring "Biutiful" was almost comical. You had to feel for "Love" director Luca Guadagnino and producer/star Tilda Swinton who sat in the audience only to watch "Tattoo" win. Thankfully, their chances of recognition are much better Sunday night when "Love" competes for best foreign language film during the 68th Annual Golden Globes.
'Big C,' 'Breaking Bad' and 'Walking Dead' also recognized
The American Cinema Editors weighed in on their peers this morning announcing the nominees for the 61st Annual ACE Eddie Awards. Recognizing outstanding editing in nine categories of film, television and documentaries, this year's class featured few surprises beyond the always interesting Comedy or Musical movie category.
The awards will be announced on Feb. 19, 2011 in a black-tie ceremony where Christopher Nolan will receive the ACE Golden Eddie Filmmaker of the Year Award. Two Career Achievement honorees will be announced next week. A complete list of all the nominees are as follows.